The U.S. Department of Agriculture is supporting algae like never before, thanks to a new Farm Bill that gave algae farmers everything from new crop protections, to support for advanced R&D and commercialization. This month the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced a funding opportunity from its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program that could be of interest to ABO members.
Algae is specifically mentioned as eligible in at least two topic areas:
Aquaculture, which funds “research projects with the overall goal of leading to improved production efficiency and increased competitiveness of private sector, commercial aquaculture in the United States.” This topic area includes a wide range of subtopics that can qualify for funding, and algae is one of them:
Algal Production Systems. Novel or innovative approaches to improve the efficiency of algal production and feedstock logistics including identification of new (or improved) species with improved nutritional profile for use in aquaculture feed, human food, or food supplements; development of improved bioreactor technology; and development of new methods for harvesting algal biomass.
Biofuels, and Biobased Products, which promote “the use of non-food biobased products and biofuels by developing new or improved technologies that will lead to increased competitiveness of value-added products from agricultural materials.” These technologies can include New Non-food Biobased Products from New Industrial Crops, and New Processes for the Manufacture of Industrial Products, Chemicals, or Biofuels. Algae is among the range of technologies that can qualify for funding.
Other areas of the opportunity may also be open to algae farmers, technologies and product developers.
Closing date for application is October 23, 2019.